Astrobiologists Not Expecting to Find ‘Gray Aliens’

The most enduring symbol of extraterrestrial life has to be the gray alien. With a vaguely humanoid body and strangely elongated features, grays are just human enough to be unnerving to most individuals and have, for the most part, replaced the idea of little green men from Mars. Some people feel that this depiction of life is ridiculous and might even disprove various close encounters.

Skeptics see parallels in science fiction stories dating back to the 19th century. A Swedish novel from 1933 describes a race of extraterrestrials that are very similar to the ever-popular grays. Others claim that portrayals of alien life being similar to humanity are a sign of arrogance. Evolution, according to these skeptics, doesn’t necessarily have to take place in the same way that it has on Earth.

Admittedly, the idea of grays seems pretty far-fetched. Legitimate scientists have taken steps to distance themselves from such portrayals of extraterrestrial races. However, that doesn’t mean that the idea itself is bad. While most descriptions of such life forms are taken from the pages of hoaxes, that doesn’t mean that extraterrestrial creatures wouldn’t necessarily resemble anything on Earth.

Image Credit: San Diego State University

Indeed, Occam’s razor would seem to support this concept. No one should necessarily throw the baby out with the bath water. In fact, there is some scientific evidence for this sort of thinking. Humans are the only understood higher species. Saying that extraterrestrial civilizations would physically resemble human ones takes few assumptions.

Regardless of what theory one subscribes to, it’s easy to see that there is a huge rift between legitimate astrobiological research and what detractors deem UFOlogy. Unfortunately, the latter sometimes gives the former a bad name and may involve events that could be explained away as sleep paralysis or outright dishonesty. While so-called ufologists generally focus on finding gray aliens and UFO’s, astrobiologists generally take a different route by studying the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe (here on Earth and beyond). In other words, the two fields are worlds apart (pun intended). More to the point, astrobiologists are only interested in researching things that can actually be studied. This often involves the study of lifeforms that are microscopic in size – a far cry from a gray alien. If we ever do have a bonafide gray alien, I’m certain astrobiologists might want to study it as well. Until that happens however, I think most astrobiologists will remain skeptical regarding the existence of gray aliens.

Regardless of what you believe, this leaves an interesting question unanswered by astrobiologists. If intelligent life were discovered, how would sketchy portrayals of aliens on Earth influence the psyche of those who came into contact with them for real? Only exploration and continued research will yield the answer.

What are your thoughts on gray aliens, astrobiology, etc.?

Alien Intervention Throughout Human History

The debate over whether alien beings exist continues today with devout believers on one side and skeptics on the other; however the belief in extraterrestrials has gained momentum in modern times. Not surprisingly, believers in alien beings often keep their views private for fear of being ridiculed. Still, many believers maintain that it is pure arrogance to believe that human beings on Earth are the only intelligent life forms in such a vast universe.

Several authors and researchers claim that ancient writings from around the world indicate an extraterrestrial presence in Earth’s past. The Bible is among those ancient documents they often cite. There are also researchers that claim alien beings intervened in human history and even directed the course of our evolution. Perhaps the ancient people had knowledge of these extraterrestrial beings and tried to express that knowledge in their ancient writings.

Did beings similar to ourselves land on Earth thousands of years ago? If so, no doubt they had great technology and could perform feats that would appear as miracles. The primitive beings of Earth would have undoubtedly viewed them as great gods. We must ask ourselves what we would do if we were to visit another planet Perhaps we would only observe the cultures there. But what if we became stranded and had to make that planet our own? Would our level of intellect, technology and beliefs and cultural traditions affect the native culture of the alien world? There is a very good possibility that our presence and interaction would influence the native culture of that planet. Perhaps that is what happened on Earth. If aliens did land on our planet long ago and interact with human beings, we have to wonder if their interaction was inadvertent or intentional. If their interaction was intentional, then what was their agenda?

ANCIENT ALIENS: The Da Vinci Conspiracy | S04E08

This episode examines some of the paintings, sketches and journals of legendary artists and engineer Leonardo Da Vinci, and alleges that some of his work may have been inspired by alien technology he may have encountered. Leonardo da Vinci’s painting…

There are several statements in the Bible that have left some researchers and scholars at odds. Some maintain that the Book of Genesis is referring to more than one God and that the biblical angels may be what we now refer to as aliens. One verse that has raised eyebrows is Genesis 1:26 that states, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness.” Who was God talking to when He made this statement? Since He was the only God, He had to be talking to the angels…or so the theory goes.

Later in Genesis 6 it states, “The sons of God saw the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. The Nephilim were on the earth in those days and also afterward when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them.”

Some people believe that the sons of God were the fallen angels that had followed Satan during the rebellion against God. There are also people who believe the sons of Gods were ancient astronauts who resided on Earth. It is also theorized that whole story relating to the war between God (and the good angels) vs. Satan (and the fallen angels) is actually the ancient telling of a war between two factions of an alien world; or a war between two extraterrestrial races from different planets.

The Bible states that angels were created before human beings and the humans were created as lesser beings than the angels. There seems to be great emphasis on the difference between beings that were created and those that were born. The Bible specifically states that both angels and man were created beings. It is believed that the Nephilim were a hybrid race. There are people who also believe human beings may also be a hybrid race and that the original man and woman, Adam and Eve were genetically engineered. There have been numerous reports of modern alien abductions where people believe that they have been tested or experimented on as well. Cattle mutilations also contribute to this theory since the animals have had their blood drained and parts of their anatomy removed with surgical precision.

There are several ancient writings that mention divine beings that came from the stars or the heavens. There are also drawings and writings about Gods that flew in chariots. The Book of Ezekiel in the Bible is a good example of seeing some sort of craft descend and ascend. Ezekiel 10:106 states, “Now when the cherubim moved, the wheels would go beside them; also when the cherubim lifted up their wings to rise from the ground, the wheels would not turn from beside them.”

There have been sightings of unusually shaped saucers and cigar shaped crafts throughout history that continue in modern times. Sightings of UFOs (Unidentified Flying Objects) have been reported by people such as police officers, airline pilots, and military personnel. While some sightings may be other phenomena or even hoaxes, there are some that clearly remain unexplained. There have also been sightings of USOs (Unidentified Submersible Objects). These objects appear to descend from the sky and submerge into water. They are also seen rising from the water and ascending to the sky.

If alien intervention did take place and a union took place between human beings and extraterrestrials, it seemed to displease God greatly as the following passage indicates. The Book of Jubilees states: “And it came to pass when the children of men began to multiply on the face of the earth and daughters were born unto them, that the angels of God saw them on a certain year of this jubilee, that they were beautiful to look upon; and they took themselves wives of all whom they chose, and they bare unto them sons and they were giants. And lawlessness increased on the earth and all flesh corrupted its way, alike men and cattle and beasts and birds and everything that walks on the earth -all of them corrupted their ways and their orders, and they began to devour each other, and lawlessness increased on the earth and every imagination of the thoughts of all men (was) thus evil continually. And God looked upon the earth, and behold it was corrupt, and all flesh had corrupted its orders, and all that were upon the earth had wrought all manner of evil before His eyes. And He said that He would destroy man and all flesh upon the face of the earth which He had created.”

God was not happy with this intervention and took steps to destroy all flesh that had been corrupted, even the animals. Considering that God had decided to destroy all flesh, we can assume that even the animals had been corrupted in some way. Some believe that extraterrestrials conducted genetic experiments on early man and the animals of Earth. Author Zechariah Sitchin proposed that an alien race known as the Annunaki came to our planet to mine gold and created modern mankind as a slave or worker race. There are more questions than there are answers regarding the origins of humankind and the existence of extraterrestrials, but perhaps someday science will be able to corroborate the ancient stories told in the Bible and other ancient documents.

The biblical passage of Mark 4:21-22 quotes Jesus saying, “Everything that is hidden will be made clear. Every secret thing will be made known.”

What are your thoughts on all of this? These are not theories that I necessarily subscribe to however I thought it might make a good subject to explore nonetheless. Let me know your thoughts on ancient aliens. Or alternatively, if you don’t believe aliens are here (or ever have been), feel free to share your thoughts on this as well.

Image Credit: http://ancient-aliens-were-here.blogspot.com/

Are UFOs Visiting Earth?

Despite popular belief, the term UFO means an Unidentified Flying Object, not necessarily a spaceship or flying saucer. This applies to any object spotted in the sky that is not readily recognized by the observer. This can apply to unusual weather phenomena and military aircraft not generally seen by the public. Yet whenever the term UFO is used, typically the talk turns to aliens and spacecraft. For the purpose of this post, I’m going to refer to UFO’s as those of alien origin. Read More →

Let’s Explore Photosynthesis on Exoplanets

Imagine an astronaut stepping out of a spacecraft onto the surface of an extrasolar planet that is capable of sustaining life. Now imagine the astronaut is greeted by the sight of red colored trees and grass. Such a scenario could be more reality than science fiction because of the variances in photosynthesis theorized to exist in other parts of the Milky Way Galaxy.

Photosynthesis occurs in plants when they use sunlight to create foods from carbon dioxide and water. This process of converting energy from sunlight into chemical energy produces oxygen and causes chlorophyll to form. It is chlorophyll that is responsible for imbuing plants with a healthy green color. The reason this happens is because chlorophyll absorbs more blue and red light waves and fewer green light waves from sunlight. Reflecting the green light waves is what causes the plants to appear green to the human eye.

When the Sun in our solar system radiates light, it reaches the Earth in a particular distribution of colors. As this sunlight passes through the Earth’s atmosphere, the various gases that comprise the atmosphere filter out certain colors before they strike the surface of the Earth. Much of the color that is not absorbed in the atmosphere is red, blue or green. Plants tend to absorb a greater amount of red and blue rays and reflect back green.

Some scientists think that plant life growing under the rays of an extraterrestrial sun could reflect colors other than green after the photosynthesis process is completed. The color that is most commonly visible on alien plants correlates with how colors are distributed in the light radiated by the parent star that strikes the surface of the extraterrestrial world.

The spectral type of a main sequence star can have a direct impact on the coloring of plants. For that reason, coloring can vary from star to star if the spectral type for each star also shows some variance. In a scientific paper published in the March, 2007 issue of Astrobiology magazine, a team of scientists examined how light emitted by another sun would appear from the vantage point of a planet orbiting that host star. Nancy Kiang, author of the paper, said the scientific team determined that the atmosphere of any extrasolar Earth-like planet would feature a chemical composition that is compatible with the chemical composition of its host star. How light from that star is seen on the planet’s surface would be affected by how it is filtered through the atmosphere as it reaches the surface.

Kiang, who works with the Goddard Institute for Space Sciences at NASA, and her team conducted an extensive study where they modeled how sunlight would reach the surface of Earth-sized planets that are hospitable to life from stars of varying spectral types. Kiang’s team speculated that each planet could experience different dominant colors that emerge in plants through photosynthesis based on how hot or cool the sun is that is anchoring that solar system.

Plant life existing on other worlds is not guaranteed to mimic the appearance of plants we are accustomed to seeing on Earth. Planets revolving around a blue star could feature plant life that has a dominant color of yellow or orange and this could lend to forests that boast autumn type colors throughout the growing season on those planets. If a habitable world is located in a binary star system or multi-star system, it could cause some exotic variations in how the plant life grows and appears to the human eye after going through photosynthesis. These planets could have plants that are almost black in color.

In the case of habitable planets around red dwarf stars, all plant life would likely exist underwater. The proximity of the habitable zone around the star would make it difficult for plants to fend off ultraviolet radiation because they could not generate enough energy from infrared light through photosynthesis to create sufficient oxygen to block ultraviolet radiation penetrating the atmosphere.

The idea that differences exist in the photosynthesis process from one planet to the next changes how astrobiologists search for evidence of life on other worlds outside our own solar system. It reinforces the idea that plant and animal life alike have evolved and adapted to fit the unique conditions of this Earth as well as reinforcing the notion that life on other habitable planets would evolve to survive and thrive in a similar manner on other planets. What do you think? Is photosynthesis the same on all planets or do you think it will be vastly different?

References: 
Kiang, N., Siefert, J., Govindjee, ., & Blankenship, R. (2007). Spectral Signatures of Photosynthesis. I. Review of Earth Organisms Astrobiology, 7 (1), 222-251 DOI: 10.1089/ast.2006.0105

Kiang, N., Segura, A., Tinetti, G., Govindjee, ., Blankenship, R., Cohen, M., Siefert, J., Crisp, D., & Meadows, V. (2007). Spectral Signatures of Photosynthesis. II. Coevolution with Other Stars And The Atmosphere on Extrasolar Worlds Astrobiology, 7 (1), 252-274 DOI: 10.1089/ast.2006.0108

Artist’s Impression of an Exoplanet with Moons, Orbiting the Star HD70642 (Photo Credit: David A. Hardy, Astroart.org © PPARC)

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